When you think of the term “hoarding” what comes to mind? No doubt many people think of homes full of piles of old newspapers, or bags of garbage piling up. Some people may even simply think of the A&E show “Hoarders” and some of the incredible lengths that some people will go to in order to avoid throwing anything out.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, hoarding is a serious psychological problem in which the person with the hoarding disorder has persistent difficulty parting with possessions. This clutter is more than just a mess, however. A hoarder will often have collected for years or even decades, leaving only enough room to get around in their-now maze-like house.
A home that has been affected by hoarding can be not only a cleaning crew’s nightmare, but also a hazard to live and work in. Among the hazards are collapses, fires and even structural integrity.
Collapses are caused by the piles of material collected by the hoarder. These piles can become unstable over time and might topple over onto an occupant of the house, or, someone working in there to remove the clutter, causing possible injury. One of the most famous examples of this happened to a pair of brothers who were hoarders, and whose bodies were not found for weeks by authorities due to a collapse in their house.
As collections of possessions grow inside the house, so does the risk of fire and other associated hazards. With more flammable materials lying around, fire can spread more quickly. Larger accumulations of possessions in a maze-like living space can also cause problems for rescue workers who may have to try and navigate the house if someone is trapped inside.
This doesn’t even begin to discuss the problem of the stresses that these collections can often put houses under. When built correctly, load-bearing parts of a house are meant to support only a certain amount of weight. However, as these collections grow, floors can buckle under the weight of these materials, causing unsafe living conditions where floors are crushed under the weight of a hoarder’s collection.
The problem of mold in a house is only exacerbated by the inability to find it due to immense clutter. A pipe could develop cracks or leaks and this problem would not be found for months or even years, becoming a breeding ground for mold. This danger can last even longer when you consider that the clutter in the house must be removed before remediation can occur, leading to mold continuing to grow for a longer period of time. Mold spores can also be released into the air during the cleanup, due to all the moving and touching of damaged materials affected by the mold.
We recommend that if you come into contact with mold in a hoarders’ house, call in a professional such as Absolute Flood Response. We will ensure that the job is done right the first time and that everything will be done to make sure that the mold will be contained to the areas that it is already in, and not spread to other parts of the house.